• A rough guide to natural dyeing with marigold flowers

    by  • 27 July 2020 • Crafts & Activities • 0 Comments

    In Spin a Scarf of Sunshine by Dawn Casey and illustrated by Stila Lim, Nari lives on a small farm with hens and bees and apple trees, and cares for a little lamb of her own. The seasons turn and Nari’s lamb grows into a fine sheep with a fleece that is ready to shear. Nari and her family use traditional skills to transform the fleece into a cosy scarf, as they shear, spin, dye and knit. 

    Here, author Dawn Casey explains how to dye fabrics or yarn using marigold flowers – just like Nari!

    French marigolds

    Top tip:

    Both tall marigolds (the African marigold – tagetes erecta) and dwarf marigolds (the French marigold – tagetes patula) are easy to dye with.


    1. First, gather some marigold flowers. As a rough guide, if using fresh flowers, you will need twice the weight of flowers to yarn / fabric. If using dried flowers, use an equal weight of flowers to yarn.

    2. Make a dye bath: cover the flowers with water in a pan. (The exact amount of water does not matter.)

    3. Bring the dye bath to the boil, and simmer for about half an hour.

    4. Strain the flowers out of the pan, retaining the coloured liquid – this is your dye.

    5. If you want to dye yarn, loop it into a loose skein, tied with a couple of pieces of thread. This allows the dye to circulate through the strands more easily.

    Looped yarn ready for the dye bath

    6. Add whatever you want to dye (such as yarn or fabric) to the dye in the pan. Simmer for between 30 mins – 1 hour, depending on how deep you want the colour.

    7. Allow the yarn to cool, then rinse it in cold water and hang up to dry.

    8. Knit, weave or sew something sunny with your fabric or yarn!

    We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to dye with marigolds! To find out more about Spin a Scarf of Sunshine read an interview with author Dawn Casey here and listen to an extract below from the Floris Books YouTube channel, where Dawn reads from the book:


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